Commentary

Online Video Changes Game For Brand Marketers

Two years ago when online video burst onto the scene, the growth engine behind it was centered on consumer-driven uploading and sharing of video clips. At the time, commercial media companies were trying to take advantage of the migration of audiences to the Web and also open up new revenue streams through online video advertising.

Today, the growth engine behind online video has shifted dramatically. Video has expanded well beyond the media industry and into nearly every corner of the professional Web, as corporations, governments, non-profits and educational institutions look to use video as a cornerstone of how they communicate, market and inform on the Web.

With the explosion of online video adoption in the last two years, savvy marketers are now using video across their business to help build their online community, evangelize their products and engage directly with customers. The following examples are all our clients, but the video trend applies across many industries.

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Building a community

Sun Microsystems leverages online video to help build community interactions and enhance the online experience of its developers, customers, partners, students and employees. The company uses online video extensively for product education, corporate communications and product launches through Channel Sun, its newest multimedia online experience. Community members and visitors to the site have on-demand access to a large library of video content, as well as the ability to comment on and rate the content to help foster ongoing engagement and interaction.

Evangelize your product

Serena Software recognized early on in the Web 2.0 era that video was a powerful force in promoting its brand and reaching customers directly. When Serena launched its "JUST @#$% IT!" campaign, the main video was placed on YouTube as a teaser to drive traffic back to the full campaign on MashupTV, where users could not only watch the video, but download free whitepapers and free trial software. The campaign drove thousands of viewers to the MashupTV site and tripled overall Web traffic to Serena's corporate site.

Boost customer engagement

Other companies like the San Diego Zoo and Kohler have launched online video initiatives to engage with customers in a more visual, impactful way. San Diego Zoo has the benefit of adorable, newborn animals to make its content compelling, but its videos also offer a detailed view of the conservation work zoo researchers are conducting to save endangered species in the wild and on-grounds.

Kohler has launched a comprehensive online video initiative to educate consumers on its range of products. This has proven to be extremely effective, as consumers making high-consideration purchases value the opportunity to see the product in action online. This can be accomplished more effectively through the use of video versus static images and text.  

Online video has certainly become a powerful tool for marketers to expand their brand presence and reach customers and prospects in a new way. These companies recognize that when it is done effectively, video can be a major force in opening direct-to-consumer communications.

7 comments about "Online Video Changes Game For Brand Marketers".
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  1. Lyn Graft from LG Pictures, March 24, 2009 at 2:56 p.m.

    We agree completely. We switched to almost all video content on the CLUB E Network site (250+ videos to date soley on entrepreneurs) & our community loves it. If they articles, we send them to Inc & Entrepeneur Magazine because they do that better than anyone. We are leveraging Web 2.0 hosting platforms to completely redo our site to truly leverage this asset base this summer because this is what our community cares about most.

    I have produced over 35 videos for Microsoft personally for their small business web site & they love it because it increasese time on site & sales conversion rates & that is what matters to them.

  2. Marshall Eubanks from AmericaFree.TV, March 24, 2009 at 3:29 p.m.

    I think that this is just beginning. As video moves down the long tail, I think you are going to see a merging of content and sponsorship much like the beginning of TV. The best way to see how brand management is going may be to watch old kiniscopes from the early 1950's.

  3. Ruth Barrett from EarthSayers.tv, March 24, 2009 at 3:32 p.m.

    In establishing a Network (we chose sustainability as the focus because we believe it is the mission critical application of the next seven generations) we draw from over 40 channels in this emerging environment of the World Wide Web. We see the slow adoption among businesses (especially B2B) of Web 2.0 technologies and wonder when there will be a significant movement from the Web as text to the Web of voices. Then we won't have to spend so much time explaining how earthsayers.tv, the voices of sustainability, works.
    Keep reporting the positive accomplishments of those marketers who are not afraid to be innovative and find their voice.

  4. Jim Courtright from Big Thinking By The Hour, March 24, 2009 at 3:53 p.m.

    Amen!
    When we started our company 3 years ago, to explain the value of online video, we (of course) made an online video of the very same message points in your article.

    Cut to 2009, and we think the next frontier for brands will be to create their own entertainment that streams through their website. Look for mega brands like Toyota or Visa to fight for the distribution rights of big name programming usually handled by broadcasters. The content creating studios will eventually bypass the broadcast networks to deliver content directly to big brand websites.

    Smaller brands and B2B companies will look to content creator like us to create original, affordable, recurring content that attracts and engages audiences. With topics that range from lifestyle to entertainment to technology and even recruitment.

    It's going to be a great upcoming decade for content makers.

    Jim Courtright
    Partner
    Big Thinking By The Hour, Inc.
    jc@bigthinkingbythehour.com

  5. Phillip Underhill, March 24, 2009 at 4:12 p.m.

    I just wrapped-up a national survey (focus group/questionnaire)
    loaded with cool insights on how marketers are using online video to build today's Superbrands: "Online Video: Superpowered Ideas For Marketers."

    You can find it on Slideshare or here: www.videasa.com/survey/

    Phil
    Executive Creative Director

  6. Doug Broomfield from IDM, March 24, 2009 at 7:03 p.m.

    Great article Jeff. I am sure you guys continue to see big upticks in people coming to use your service. We are seeing the same at Veeple. The beautiful thing is that as broadband gets stronger and more ubiquitous it will only improve the opportunity for video to thrive on the internet. Cisco predicts by 2012 that internet traffic will reach one-half a zettabyte. That's right a zettabyte. And video will go from 30% of today's total traffic to 90% in 2012 - What a future for online video indeed. Link to Cisco's article: http://tinyurl.com/4wucvf

  7. Vincent Vandeputte from You View.tv, March 25, 2009 at 3:51 a.m.

    Online Video is also becoming the foundation for Search, where baby boomers used to search via Google, more and more Generation Y are using You Tube for Search. And once voice recognition software will allow search engines to find key words in the spoken language in the video, the whole internet will shift completely to Online Video. Probably supported with text for some.

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